Longtime California sire Benchmark was euthanized June 23 due to the infirmities of old age, according to a release from Ballena Vista Farm. He was 26.
Sire of Eclipse Award winner Points Offthebench and top racehorses including Brother Derek, Idiot Proof, and Bench Points, the son of Alydar was pensioned in 2014 and lived out his retirement in his paddock and stall within the Ballena Vista Farm stallion complex.
Benchmark was a multiple graded stakes winner for owner Martin and Pam Wygod, who purchased him as a weanling for $475,000 from Glencoe Farm's consignment to the Keeneland November mixed sale. He posted a 7-2-4 record from 16 starts while earning $636,707. His record includes three grade 2 wins in 1997: the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap, Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap, and San Bernardino Handicap. He also placed in four other graded stakes, including the 1998 Triple Bend Invitational Breeders' Cup Handicap (G2).
Benchmark was bred in Kentucky by North Central Bloodstock out of the graded stakes-placed Danzig mare Winters' Love, a half sister to 1983 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Caveat. He is a half brother to grade 1 winner Tranquility Lake, the dam of grade 1 winners Courageous Cat and After Market and group 2 winner Jalil.
The leading son at stud by Alydar with $35 million in total progeny earnings, Benchmark began his career at River Edge Farm in 1999. His first crop of 47 foals included five stakes winners led by A to the Z, a winner of $629,722. Benchmark sired an average of four stakes winners a year in his first 10 seasons at stud. He moved to Ballena Vista Farm in the summer of 2010 and continued to have annual progeny earnings of more than $2 million.
Benchmark's bloodlines will continue to be seen on the racetrack—his sons Idiot Proof and Grazen are both successful sires of stakes horses in California.